February 5, 2010
Last week, five candidates for governor in the upcoming election met in Grand Rapids for the first debate of 2010. Republicans Peter Hoekstra, Mike Bouchard, Rick Snyder, Tom George, and Democrat Alma Wheeler Smith participated in the discussion.
After wards, Mr. Hoekstra was quoted as saying: “The only thing all of the candidates agreed on was that Michigan should not increase the gas tax to pay for Michigan’s roads and bridges. But they did agree that the state’s infrastructure is suffering.”
Well, let me see if I’ve got this right. Our infrastructure is “suffering,” but they are all against raising the gas tax to provide needed funding. The article goes on to indicate that one or the other would find additional funding for education or for public safety – but no mention of finding any additional dollars to fix our “suffering” roads and transit systems!
At least they got the “suffering” part right. Over 30 percent of our pavement is in poor condition statewide, funding from the gas tax is declining, MDOT has just postponed over 240 projects because we can’t match available federal aid (by the way, many counties and cities are in the same situation). Yeah – I would call that suffering all right – and short sighted as well! At the current rate of deterioration, almost 50 percent of the system – one out of every two miles of roads in our state – will be in poor condition by the time the next governor completes his/her first term!
These candidates have expressed their opinion on the importance of infrastructure and its relationship to jobs and the economic turnaround of the state. Be sure to ask them and all the candidates how they intend to fix our “suffering” transportation system – and then vote for the one that has a plan to do something about it!